On a regular random day of my life, I decided to watch “Before the Flood,” (the documentary that Leonardo Dicaprio was part of the production team). If you have not seen this documentary, I recommend you do it now because it changed my life.
“Before the Flood” focuses on the human experience, and the impact it has on climate change. Before watching the documentary, I did not know anything about how cows were bad for the environment by releasing Methane gas, or how all these brands (Quaker was one of them. Yes! I was in shock) were destroying our planet. I am a strong advocate for showing the world that climate change is real, but I did not know how to make a difference in my day-to-day life.
I have never been that person that goes around and screams “YOU ARE KILLING THE ENVIRONMENT BY CONSUMING ANIMAL PRODUCTS” or “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU ARE EATING AN ANIMAL,” but I truly understand where the anger from these people comes from. My approach on this topic is very simple: if you want people to understand something they have never done in their life before, you have to educated them about topic in order for them to change. The more I mentioned that I was a vegetarian, the more I noticed that people around me were also making changes in their diet. You could say I was inspiring them to change, through my diet choices.
I became a vegetarian on a random day during all the Hurricane Irma craziness. It’s interesting when you tell people that you became a vegetarian, and their first reaction is “You won’t survive,” “Your culture is based on meats, what are you going to eat?”, but my thoughts were beyond that.
As my journey began, I noticed that is actually not that hard to be vegetarian in the world we are living in today. Most of the restaurants will have vegan and vegetarian options, and they will happily make adjustments to your meal when needed.
It has been three months since I have been a vegetarian, and there is not a day that I want to eat meat. I used to have crazy issues with bloating, where I would go weeks feeling pain in my stomach, and I did not know how to stop it. Once I stopped eating meat, the bloating was gone. Just like that.
And I have been proving myths about vegetarianism left and right. For example, the common belief that “once you go vegetarian, you have no energy.” I can accurately tell you that this is FALSE, and honestly I feel better now that I only eat veggies.
I have been trying to become vegan too, but my love for yogurt is so strong that it makes it hard, but I try to eat vegan as much as I can. For example when it comes to milk, I usually drink almond milk or coconut milk. Small changes like that help our planet trust me.
Another pro of going vegetarian is that I began to make healthier choices in my life, like working out regularly, drinking lots of water, and thinking positively. It is weird how just changing a simple thing in your daily lifestyle can impact other areas of your life. And another perk of my vegetarian diet is that my skin is healthier than ever, once you go vegetarian your skin will glow.
Watching “Before the Flood” had such an impact on me that I started feeling bad for eating meat because I knew in some way I was contributing to global warming. As I said, cows are bad for our environment; They release methane (CH4), which is a chemical that contributes to global warming (and believe it or not its even worse than carbon dioxide).
So with this in mind, my message to you is: I know it can be hard to stop eating meat, but try to make healthier choices for yourself, and for the environment. Even if it’s not eating meat on Mondays (or any other day of the week), you will be helping the environment more than you think.
Naomy Lelis is a freshman from Luanda, Angola. She’s majoring in journalism, a Rick and Morty fanatic, and an avid consumer of documentaries.